One Pot Swedish Meatballs and Noodles

Swedish Meatballs 2

I remember when my dad  was in the hospital, he used to say how much he liked their food. And I would think to myself, “Must be the drugs they gave him.” I recently spent four days in the same hospital my dad stayed. So I got to eat quite a few of the same meals there myself. None of my meals were outstanding or deserved rave reviews like my dad gave them. But the one thing they had in common was they were comforting. Comfort foods, like meatloaf and mashed potatoes or roasted chicken.  Foods that made you feel better being alone in a strange place and stuck in a strange bed for whatever scary health reason you are there.  So maybe that’s why my dad raved so much.  I have no idea what this has to do with my Swedish meatballs and noodles recipe, but I do consider it a comfort meal. And being in the hospital made me think of my dad.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef (Use 1/2 a pound, if you like smaller meatballs)
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 cup seasoned panko or breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pepper for meatballs
  • 1 teaspoon salt for meatballs
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups heavy cream or milk
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cups uncooked egg noodles
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1.  In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, onion, breadcrumbs, eggs, salt and pepper. Shape your meatballs into 1-2 tablespoons sized balls.
  2. Heat your oil in a pot over medium high heat. Place your meatballs into the pot. Cook meatballs for 1 -2 minutes and flip.
  3. Add the beef broth and heavy cream (or milk) and worcestershire sauce and stir well.
  4. Bring the liquid to a boil, then add the egg noodles. Stir every minute, until the pasta is cooked and the liquid has reduced to a sauce that coats the noodles. 6-8 minutes.
  5. Add the parmesan cheese and stir until cheese is melted.
  6. Garnish with chopped parsley and add salt and pepper to taste.

Swedish Meatballs 1

Pork Carnitas

Carnitas 4

Growing up, my parents made Chinese food at least 90% of the time. So you would think my blog would be mostly Chinese food recipes. Nope. Once I moved out and was left to cook on my own I enjoyed trying all sorts of new food types and trying new recipes. If you ask my kids, they will tell you I can eat Mexican food everyday of the week. It’s true. Pork carnitas is one recipe I love as it is not particularly hard to make. And if you get a large pork shoulder, it makes enough for a crowd or you have leftovers for days. This recipe makes at least 12 servings!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3-4 pounds pork shoulder
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 bulb garlic, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken broth

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Season the pork shoulder with salt, then arrange the pork in the Dutch oven. Cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, lime juice, chili powder, oregano, and cumin. Pour in the chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and continue to simmer until pork is very tender, about 2 1/2 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  4. Transfer the pork shoulder to a large baking sheet, reserving the cooking liquid. Drizzle with a small amount of the reserved cooking liquid.Carnitas 1
  5. Bake the pork in the preheated oven until browned, about 30 minutes. Drizzle more of the cooking liquid on the meat every 10 minutes, and use two forks to shred the meat as it browns. (Keep in mind, the objective of the final step is to get slightly crispy outside with a moist, tender inside.)
  6. Carnitas 2
  7. Serve the carnitas with warm, fresh tortillas and pico de gallo or whatever you like! I like to make mine into tacos. Carnitas 3

Jerk Chicken Pasta

Jerk Chicken Pasta Plated

The hardest part of this recipe for me was finding somewhere that sold Jerk seasoning. I looked up and down the spice aisle. Then I tried the international aisle of my local grocery store. Still couldn’t find it. I tried the store across the way from my favorite grocery store. Still couldn’t find it. I found every other type of seasoning spices. Finally I did an internet search. I found it on Amazon of all places.  Finally! This recipes is actually very tasty and not as spicy as I like since my son can’t handle spicy foods. So feel free to adjust the amount of seasoning you use according to your tastes.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound Gemelli pasta (or Penne pasta will work too)
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 tablespoons Jamaican Jerk seasoning (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/3  cup sliced green onions, plus more for garnish
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions to al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. . Season chicken breasts all over using 1 tablespoon jerk seasoning per chicken breast.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook chicken until golden and no longer pink, 8 minutes per side. Remove from pan and set aside to rest.
  4. Add remaining oil and cook peppers until mostly tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Add green onions and garlic until fragrant, 1 minute. Season with remaining  tablespoon jerk seasoning.
  6. Add chicken stock and heavy cream and let simmer until thickened, 5 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, slice prepared chicken.
  8. Add Parmesan and stir until melted and creamy, then add pasta and chicken and toss until completely combined.
  9. Garnish with green onions and more Parmesan and serve.

Jerk Chicken Pasta Skillet

Japanese Curry Beef

Japanese Curry Beef (1)

Tired of the same old beef stew recipe? Then change it up by making Japanese curry beef instead. It’s basically a beef stew with a curry kick. I stuck with the medium hot S&B Golden Curry brand. If I had brought home the “hot” level one, my son would have protested. Japanese curry roux is not all that spicy compared to the Indian curry powders I have used in my chicken curry.  For my vegetarian friends like Sue T., skip the beef and just add more potatoes, carrots and onions to make a hearty vegetable curry. Serve with a side of rice and your tummy will be thanking you.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound beef (cut for stew)
  • 2 white or yellow onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 large Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 box curry roux (4 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon apricot jam
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon lite soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder (optional)

Japanese Curry Beef 3

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cut vegetables into bite size pieces. (About the same size as your beef stew meat.)
  2. Heat oil and brown meat in a Dutch Oven or large lidded pot over high heat. Take meat out when the sides of the beef are seared, but not cooked through.
  3. In the same pot, lower heat to medium high and fry the onions for 5 minutes. Add carrots and potatoes, then the beef.
  4. Add water to the pot. After the water boils, skim the fat and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 45-50 minutes until the meat becomes tender.
  5. Now add the curry roux blocks into the pot. Stir well so the pieces of the roux dissolves.
  6. Once the roux has dissolved, stir in apricot jam, ketchup, soy sauce, Worcestershire  sauce and optional curry powder.
  7. Let simmer for 15 minutes.
  8. Serve with a side of rice.

This recipe makes 4 to 6 servings.

Japanese Curry Beef 2

 

Asparagus Beef in Black Bean Garlic Sauce

Asparagus beef in black bean and garlic sauce

It’s asparagus season here in California. I find myself buying asparagus every shopping trip now. But instead of  making my usual grilled asparagus as a side dish, I wanted to add it into the main dish. If you love making quick dinners like I do then you are going to love this.  Also, this recipe only requires a few ingredients which makes this even simpler.  I have another variation of this dish ( Asparagus Beef ) where you make your own sauce, however this one is using a premade black bean garlic sauce which cuts the time in half and does the work for you.  This serves 2-4 depending on your portions.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 ounce sirloin or flank steak, sliced into thin strips
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil for cooking, separated into 2 tablespoons and 1 tablespoon
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon grated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 pound of asparagus, sliced into thirds
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons black bean and garlic sauce (found at local grocery stores in your international aisle or Asian markets)  Black bean and garlic sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (this offsets the sharpness of the black bean sauce)
  • 1/2 cup beef or chicken stock

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add beef strips to a bowl. Then add cornstarch, grated garlic and ginger. Mix well and set aside. Asparagus beef in black bean sauce 1
  2. Heat up wok or skillet on high heat.  Swirl in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to coat wok or skillet.
  3. Quickly spread the beef slices around the pan in an even layer. Let it sear for 15-30 seconds without stirring. Then give it a quick stir to sear the other side. The meat should be browned and no sticking should happen if you got the pan hot enough. Take the meat out of the pan and set aside.
  4. Keep the wok/skillet on high heat and add one tablespoon oil.
  5. Add in asparagus and onions.
  6. Stir for about 10 seconds and cover, leaving the heat on high. Let it cook for 20 to 30 seconds. Remove the cover. Add the beef back to the pan.
  7. Add the black bean and garlic sauce paste, sugar and beef stock. Stir to mix well.
  8. Let beef and vegetables continue to cook with the sauce for 2-3 minutes or until asparagus is cooked tender. Asparagus beef in black bean sauce 10
  9. Plate with jasmine rice and serve immediately.

Asparagus beef in black bean sauce

 

 

Mexican Vegetable Soup

Mexican Vegetable Soup 1

If you took a quick glance at my most recent posts, you might think I’m all about sweets and chicken. While I’m not going to confirm or deny that may be true, I do make other recipes as well. You might even say somewhat healthy ones every once in a while too.  So for my vegetarian friends out there, I have not forsaken you. (Yes, I’m looking at you Sue T.!)

This soup recipe can be altered to whichever vegetables you have or that are in season. It is called vegetable soup afterall. I used what I had on hand. The flavor of the soup was reminiscent of a chicken tortilla soup without the chicken or tortillas. And be forewarned, this recipe makes a lot of servings (6-8) for you to share on a cold winter’s day.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 bell peppers, diced (I used 1/2  each of an orange, red and yellow bell peppers)
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons  ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups diced roma tomatoes
  • 2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen or 1 can of corn)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can (4 ounce) diced green chile peppers
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1-2 zucchinis,  sliced

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS:

  • avocado slices
  • cilantro
  • lime wedges or lime juice
  • Mexican crema or sour cream
  • shredded cheese
  • tortilla chips

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.
  2. Add bell peppers, carrots and onions to pot. Cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Stir occasionally.
  3. Add in minced garlic, cumin and cayenne. Stir and cook for a minute.
  4. Add in tomatoes, corn, black beans, diced green chiles and vegetable stock.
  5. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil.
  6. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. Add in zucchini.
  8. Re-cover and simmer for another 10 more minutes, or until the zucchini is tender.
  9. Serve immediately with optional toppings. Mexican Vegetable Soup 2

Crock Pot Honey Garlic Chicken

Honey Garlic Chicken plated

I haven’t jumped into the Instant pot craze yet. I think it is probably because most my recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less anyway. But I do love having a crock pot!  All you have to do is put all the ingredients in and set your temperature to either high or low and then set the timer and go about your day.  My crock pot will even keep the ingredients warm after the timer has completed. So if you have other things going on or say, maybe you forget you had something cooking, (um, not speaking from experience) the “keep warm” feature will not make all your hard effort get cold and go bad.

I bought another one of those organic chicken packs that come with two breasts and four drumsticks. (Those organic chickens must look funny.) So I thought I’d pull out the crock pot and put it to use. If you do not have a crock pot, that’s quite okay. You can still use this recipe and put everything in a baking dish and bake at 350 F degrees for 50-60 minutes.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 whole cut up chicken (or all thighs, all drumsticks or two breasts and four drumsticks pack like I used.)
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup lite soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or stock
  • 1/4 cup ketchup (low sodium if you have)
  • 1-2 teaspoons sriracha sauce (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley or cilantro (whichever taste you prefer)
  • sesame seeds for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Arrange chicken on the bottom of your crock pot. Do not season chicken with salt as there is plenty of sodium in the other ingredients. You can season chicken with pepper if you would like though. Set aside. Honey Garlic Chicken 1
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine garlic, honey, lite soy sauce, chicken broth, ketchup, sriracha and parsley or cilantro. Whisk until mixed well. Honey Garlic Chicken 2
  3. Pour the sauce over the chicken pieces. Honey Garlic Chicken 3
  4. Close with a lid and cook for 4 to 5 hours on LOW, or 3 to 4 hours on HIGH. Honey Garlic Chicken 4
  5. Remove lid and transfer chicken to a serving plate.
  6. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
  7. Serve with rice or salad.

 

Baked Rotisserie Style Chicken

Rotisserie type Baked Chicken

At my local supermarket, I came across a pack of organic chicken breasts and drumsticks. I thought how strange there were no thighs or wings. But I also thought, how perfect this was for my son and me. He loves drumsticks and I love chicken breasts. While I was at the supermarket,  I kept smelling the fresh out of the rotisserie chicken they were packaging up. As I do not own a rotisserie, this was my inspiration to try to come up with a baked chicken with rotisserie flavors. So this is what I tried. Considering I had breasts and drumsticks to cook together, they came out surprisingly moist and tender.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • olive oil
  • 1 whole cut up chicken (My chicken pack came only with 2 breasts and 4 drumsticks)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil.
  2. In a small bowl, make spice rub by combining brown sugar, garlic powder, chili powder and salt. Mix well. Rotisserie type Baked Chicken 1
  3. Rub chicken with olive oil.
  4. Rub spice mix over chicken pieces covering both sides. Rotisserie type Baked Chicken 2
  5. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet.
  6. Add an extra drizzle of olive oil over chicken pieces.
  7. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 400F degrees. This initial high heat will help brown the chicken.
  8. Then lower the heat to 350 F degrees and bake for an additional 10-20 minutes more until the juices run clear (not pink) when poked with a sharp knife or the internal temperature of the chicken breasts is 165 F degrees and of the drumsticks are 170 F degrees.
  9.  Remove from oven and transfer the chicken to a serving dish. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
  10. Rotisserie type Baked Chicken 3

     

 

Grilled Chicken Marinade

Grilled Chicken Marinade

I have a huge gas grill in my backyard. In the spring and summer I love using my grill. But I am awful at remembering to exchange the empty propane tank. When this happens, my laziness and disappointment kick in and I change my mind and decide to just cook whatever it is on the stove or in the oven instead. Especially if I am not cooking for company. Recently, I was at IKEA and on a whim, bought a grill pan. I have no idea why I never had one before? I’m guessing probably because I have the gas grill in the backyard. Now this grill pan has become my favorite pan to use. I’m always thinking of what else can I try to grill on it? It’s usually chicken though. So I started running out of flavors to use on the chicken. Here’s a marinade I recently tried which my picky eater son actually enjoyed. (It is probably because there’s beer in the marinade. Don’t worry, he is over 21.)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons diced onions (I used red onion, but any type will work)
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 cups ale or beer (I used a bottle of 805 brand ale. If you don’t like to cook with alcoholic beverages, substitute with ginger ale.)
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (if you prefer dark meat use 6 skin-on thighs)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a 2 cup measuring cup, mix the first 10 ingredients together. (Olive oil through parsley.)
  2. Slowly add the beer to the mixture, as it will foam and bubble.
  3. Place your chicken in a gallon Ziploc bag.
  4. Pour the marinade over the chicken.
  5. Remove as much air out of zip bag before sealing. Turn the bag from side to side to make sure all the chicken has been coated with marinade.Grilled Chicken Marinade 1
  6. Place the bag flat on a small rimmed kitchen sheet pan and into the refrigerator. Allow to sit at least 2 hours, overnight for best results. Turn the bag every few hours to keep the chicken coated on both sides.
  7. Cook over medium high heat.  Depending on thickness, 6-7 minutes per side. Grilled Chicken Marinade 3

Vietnamese Style Chicken Wings

Vietnamese Wings 1Yes, once again I’m making chicken wings.  Most the Vietnamese chicken wing recipes I’ve seen call for fish sauce. As my son and I are allergic to most things seafood, I cannot use it as it is too strong.  So, believe it or not, that is why I am using Worcestershire sauce for the unami in this recipe. Thus, the reason why I call it Vietnamese “style.”  These wings are sweet, sticky and a little bit spicy. Good news is this recipe is quite simple, uses only a few ingredients, no oil frying required and done in less than 45 minutes.  For my vegetarian friends, maybe you can substitute fried or pan seared tofu as the sauce itself is quite tasty.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/2 pounds chicken wings
  • kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons sweet soy sauce Kecap Manis
  • 2-3 tablespoons Sambal Oelek Chili Paste (start with 2 tablespoons and add more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • cilantro chopped for garnish
  • lime wedges (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 475 F degrees.
  2. For easier clean up, cover a baking sheet in foil or use a silicone mat as the sauce becomes quite sticky.
  3. Lay out the chicken wings in a single layer in prepared baking pan.
  4. Season the chicken wings on both sides using salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  5. Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until lightly browned or cooked through.
  6. While the chicken wings bake, prepare the sauce.
  7. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the sweet soy sauce, chili paste and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to mix well.
  8. When the chicken is fully cooked, transfer the wings to a large bowl. Add half the sauce and, using tongs, toss to thoroughly coat. Return the wings to the lined sheet pan and arrange in a single, even layer. Vietnamese Wings Tray
  9. Bake for an additional 6 to 8 minutes, or until browned. Remove from the oven. Top with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
  10. Optional: Serve with a lime wedge. I like how the lime juice offsets the sweetness of the soy sauce. Vietnamese Wings 2